Karin Fossum’s characters are so realistic, I keep expecting to see them on the crosstown express ... psychologically incisive ... Unlike Fossum’s other books, this one doesn’t observe the standard procedural structure. Instead it burrows deeper and deeper into Ragna’s sad past and disturbed mind, raising troubling questions about the human capacity for intimacy and making you wonder whether grief and loneliness might drive a person mad.
... while we have seen whodunnits and whydunnits before, now Karin Fossum brings us the whattheydun ... As usual, Norwegian author Fossum has created a fascinating and troubled central character. From the very beginning, you are taken right into Ragna’s mind as she explains every thought and feeling she experiences ... Though it’s told in the third person, you’ll soon feel very close to Ragna. You’ll sympathise with her fully, and if you live alone like she does you might even identify with some of her thought patterns ... The question is, have you mellowed enough for this novel? It’ll involve you emotionally in Ragna’s struggle, but even so this book is about 100 pages too long. Elements of repetition are understandable, and they help you and Sejer build up a picture of Ragna’s mental state, but the story’s own build-up is too extended. The writing is excellent, the character is fascinating, and her unravelling is spellbinding when it is eventually revealed. Mental health is a key topic in the headlines at the moment and few authors understand the topic as well as Karin Fossum. However, The Whisperer is definitely a slow burner. If you’re new to Sejer, start with an earlier novel in the series, or perhaps with book one, In the Darkness.
... will have readers sitting on the edge of their seats ... Those who like Scandinavian mysteries and the subtle buildup of psychological thrillers will enjoy this book. An essential purchase, even if Fossum’s previous works are not in the collection.
It takes a steady hand to craft a 336-page mystery that takes place almost exclusively in an interrogation room as a Norwegian detective questions an oddly detached suspect ... A wonderfully tense psychological crime novel by a master storyteller.
A familiar damsel-in-distress story veers off script into territory that would be too dark for almost anyone but Fossum ... The answers to these questions, though certainly disturbing, are so obvious that most readers will see them coming from far off, turning this mystery into an extended exercise in dramatic irony. The moving, late-blooming relationship between mother and son adds a welcome note of grace.
... more than just a thriller, it is an exploration of a woman’s descent into madness, and it is more frightening than one can imagine. To see reality upturned and to believe utterly in that reality as Ragna does, only to find that reality is mere perception, not true at all, is the true horror of the story ... Karin Fossum is a master at constructing a compelling horror story out of real life. Although Ragna’s angst is almost more than one can tolerate in places, it is necessary to understand the character. That is all Ragna wants in the end, that someone understand her ... recommended for all fans of Nordic mysteries where angst is almost a requirement.
... engrossing ... Fossum has rendered Ragna’s plight with great precision and empathy in this acute psychological study of loneliness and grief. Fans of more nuanced Scandinavian crime fiction will be rewarded.